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Bonn is the former capital of West-Germany (1949-1990) and is located just about 20 kilometres south of Cologne. Until 1999, it still was the official seat of the German Government, after which this honour went to Berlin. It roughly has 320,000 inhabitants, making it the 19th largest city in the country. Still, many governmental and administrative tasks are kept since it hasn't been the capital anymore. Also, Bonn is a great place to explore for travellers, with many historical buildings and good restaurants and nightlife. And let's not forget it's the birthplace of Ludwig von Beethoven, one of history's most famous componists.
Bonn's climate is characterized by warm and dry summers from June to September (average temperatures around 20 to 25 °C) and mild but wetter winters from December to February when snow and frost is possible but not that common. Rain is possible year round but tends to concentrate during the October to March period, with sometimes heavy showers in summer, after hot conditions.
Cologne/Bonn Airport (CGN) is located around 15 kilometres from both Cologne and Bonn. Homebase of budget airline Germanwings, other major users of the airport are Air Berlin, Lufthansa, Condor and TUIfly. Especially Germanwings and AirBerlin have dozens of cities served throughout Europe and just beyond. It is the sixth largest airport in Germany and one of the country's few 24-hour airports.
Bonn is at the crossroads of the A59, A555 and A565 highways.
|Hotel Aigner||Dorotheenstr. 12 53111||Hotel||83|
|Hotel Ambassador Bonn||Bonner Straße 29-31||Hotel||-|
|Jugendherberge Bonn||Haager Weg 42||Hostel||82|
|Max Hostel||Maxstrasse 7||Hostel||81|
|BaseCamp Bonn||In der Raste 1||HOSTEL||-|
Internet cafes (rates €1.50 to €5 per hour) are starting to become less common due to widespread offers of free wifi by shops, restaurants or cafes. Sometimes it requires minimum consumption but usually it's free within the premises. Phone shops will often offer internet access, too. In general hotels offer internet access. In several cities, projects exist to provide free "community" hotspots for wireless networking. Passenger lounges at some airports and central railway stations also provide internet access to their customers.
Several pre-paid SIMs allow Internet access for a monthly flat fee, for example those available at Tchibo coffee stores (o2 network, €10/month limited to 500 MB, €20/month for 5 GB) or Aldi (E-Plus network). A regular O2 sim card, which can be used for calls and text messages, is €15 and another €15 buys 1GB of data valid for 1 month. Vodafone offers a prepaid sim card for €25 which includes €22.5 of credit, out of which you can get 300 MB of data for 2 days for €15 and be left with €7.5 of credit.
See also: International Telephone Calls
The international call prefix in Germany is 00. To dial out of Germany, dial 00, followed by country code, area code, and the telephone number (for example 00 44 1234 567890). If you're using a mobile phone, simply add the plus sign "+" before the country code to call out of Germany (for example +44 1234 567890). The general emergency number is 112 and the additional number for less emergent issues for police is 110.
Mobile phone coverage on the four networks (T-Mobile, Vodafone, E-Plus and o2) is excellent across the whole country. UMTS (3G data and HSDPA) and EDGE is also available. UMTS is still somewhat limited to urban areas. All mobile providers use GSM technology on the 900 and 1800 MHz frequency ranges. If you stay for a longer period of time, consider buying a prepaid phone card from one of the mobile phone companies; you won't have trouble finding a T-Mobile (in a "T-Punkt"), Vodafone, E-Plus or O2 store in any major shopping area. In most supermarket chains (for example ALDI), there are prepaid SIM cards from their own virtual providers available. These are normally quite cheap to buy, but expensive for international calls (around €1–2/min), but incoming calls are always free and SMS cost around €0.09–0.19. They are available at: Aldi, Lidl, Penny, Netto, Tchibo, Rewe, toom. A registration via Internet or (expensive) phone call is necessary after buying to activate the SIM card.
The cheapest way to call abroad from Germany is to use the internet cafés run by immigrants. They sell special calling cards that give the best rate to certain countries as well as offer cheap international calls from phone booths. It is also the cheapest way to call landlines in Germany.
Germany's postal system is very efficient, their logistics branch DHL is one of the best companies in this field world-wide, with domestic post or within a radius of 400 kilometres, send within a day. The website of Deutsche Post has an online calculator for postage fees as well as a post office finder. Stamps are available at post offices and sometimes at newsagents or shops selling postcards. Also stamp vending machines can be found at a lot of places around the cities. You can purchase every stamp you need from this machines. They are unique as they accept every coin from 1 cent to 2 euro but change is only given in stamps. It costs about €40 to send a small package to Australia and €1.70 to send an old-fashioned letter to any place in the world outside of Europe. Within Germany, sending postcards costs €0.45 and standard letters €0.55, within Europe it is €0.65 for a postcard, standard letters to places in Europe cost €0.75. Outside Europe, the prices for sending a postcard or standard letter are €1 and €1.70 respectively. Although you will find the old post offices (mainly in the city centre), most of the smaller neighbourhood post offices are part of a small tobacco shop or grocery store. For larger package, you might consider competitive private companies like UPS, DHL or TNT.
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